7 On Your Side
Company bankruptcy puts rebates at risk
If you're expecting a rebate check or have one that hasn't been cashed yet you should listen up.
Many people don't realize that when a company offers a rebate, the check actually comes from a third-party known as a rebate fulfillment center.
One of the largest fulfillment centers has filed for bankruptcy and some rebate checks out there could bounce.
CPG Marketing in Tampa has laid off most of its staff and filed for bankruptcy. The company is contracted to process rebates for dozens of retailers and manufacturers.
Some are already warning that consumers cash a check from CPG it will bounce.
"By depositing a bounced check, its going to cause problems for you and you may incur a fee that will exceed the value of the rebate. If we're talking about a $10-$15 rebate, a bounced check fee is going to be near $30 in many cases," says Joe Ridout of Consumer Action.
Rebates are a common way to attract customers but they can also irritate consumers if the rebate isn't fulfilled.
That's why companies like Costco, Canon and Pricegrabber have announced their rebates will be honored. Home Depot, Citibank and Bed Bath & Beyond have also said their customers will not encounter any problems.
So far CPG has so not responded to our questions. Neither did they answer questions from a consumer reporter at the ABC station in Tampa.
Ridout thinks the whole situation is another sign of a faltering economy.
He says, "Some businesses are going to go out of business, including these rebate houses. And it amplifies the inherent uncertainty of rebates in the first place. So you have to be extra cautious and know that rebates are always a dicey proposition and even more so today."
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